How Soon Will Paper Coupons Go the Way of the Yellow Pages?

Posted March 1, 2012 by

By Chris Marocchi, Klever Marketing, Inc.
March 1, 2012

For those close observers of how retail advertising and couponing have evolved over the years, one trend is clear. The ability for a vendor to promote its goods to the consumer has become increasingly a one-to-one conversation. What started out as rudimentary images of products and product offers conveyed to the masses evolved throughout the decades from something scribbled on a sign to finely branded FSI’s and in-store digital signage. We all know that the user experience between brand and consumer is unique and individual. Do you ever hear the term “mass communication” anymore?

Coupon Madness

Just three days ago, P&G’s Chief Executive stated that P&G would reduce marketing spending by $1 billion, not to cut out brand promotion but to become more efficient. CEO Bob McDonald stated: “We’re using technology to shift our spending from more traditional advertising on television to digital and mobile advertising. We’re using technology to more effectively and efficiently target consumers, allowing us to build one on one personal relationships with every consumer.”

Just recently I spoke to a busy friend who handles the grocery shopping duties for her household. Her husband runs a tire company and she is raising two young children. She told me that she never has time for clipping coupons. “Just get me in and out of there as quickly as possible!” she stated emphatically. Solutions requiring the clipping and organizing of paper coupons just seem to be going the way of the yellow pages – as online and especially mobile information becomes increasingly available, more people will leave the newspapers and will turn instead to more immediate solutions.

Retailers and product manufacturers are recognizing this as well. And for good reason. Just check out these statistics:

1. 53% of the “on-the-go” U.S. audience is willing to exchange their location in exchange for more relevant content and better information, including mobile deals                 (Source: JiWire, 2011).

2. 71% of Generation Y respondents (approximately 16-31 years old) said they use mobile coupons to get e-commerce discounts                                                                           (Source: Cognizant Technology Solutions and RIS News, 2010).

3. 38% of grocery retail executives said they would focus on boosting m-commerce sales over the next year, compared with 29% last year                                                          (Source: Retail Horizons: Forecasts for 2012).

Perhaps the most important key in this shift to mobile is the rise of Gen Y and Millennials. If grocers wish to remain relevant, they must recognize the shift in media consumption and target their messages to younger audiences where they spend the bulk of their time. Or they might just suffer the same consequence as the once almighty yellow pages.

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